Is Medicare paying too much for dialysis drugs?

April 10, 2006

Independent dialysis facilities are getting paid by Medicare for darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp, Amgen) and other new end-stage renal disease drugs more than what they are paying to acquire them. That's the conclusion of a new report from the Office of Inspector General.

Is Medicare paying too much for dialysis drugs?

Independent dialysis facilities are getting paid by Medicare for darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp, Amgen) and other new end-stage renal disease drugs more than what they are paying to acquire them. That's the conclusion of a new report from the Office of Inspector General. Required by the Medicare Modernization Act, the report found that the average acquisition cost for the darbepoetin alfa was $2.59 per mcg in 2005, while Medicare reimbursement ranged from a high of $3.54 per mcg in the first quarter to a low of $3.01 per mcg in the fourth quarter. OIG based its conclusions on a survey sent to 55 facilities, 46 of which responded. There's no indication of whether CMS plans to lower its reimbursement to facilities based on these findings.

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